The United Transformation Movement (UTM) has fought its way to hold a political rally today at Nyambadwe Primary School ground in Blantyre after initially being blocked by Blantyre City Council (BCC).
UTM spokesperson Chidanti Malunga confirmed last evening the political grouping will proceed with its rally after seeking a court relief at the High Court in Blantyre.
On Thursday, BCC declined to grant permission to the movement-led by the country’s Vice-President Saulos Chilima who broke ranks with the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to use the venue citing non-registration of the movement as the reason.
“We are very much delighted as UTM that the High Court has granted us permission to proceed with our rally as arranged,” said Malunga.
According to Miscellaneous Civil Cause Number 47 of 2018, UTM through its lawyer Michael Goba Chipeta, obtained an order before Justice Kenyatta Nyirenda to apply for a judicial review of the decision by Registrar of Political Parties to reject the movement’s application for registration.
Reads in part the order: “This grant of permission to commence judicial review proceedings against the respondent operates as a stay order on the decision of the respondent [BCC] under order 53, rule 3(10) (b) of RSC [Rules of the Supreme Court].”
The court has further ordered the applicant to file originating motion for judicial review within seven days from on Friday.
Thursday’s rebuff by BCC to grant UTM permission to hold the public rally today came barely few days after the Registrar of Political Parties also turned down the movement’s application to register as a political party ahead of the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
The Registrar of Political Parties through its deputy registrar Chikumbutso Namelo argued that UTM application was rebuffed for “deliberately” presenting registration documents in the name of UTM and not the full name.
“I have decided to refuse the registration of UTM as a political party on the ground that the application is not in conformity with the Act in terms of Section 7 (1) as read with Section 18 (a) (i) and (ii) of the Act,” reads in part Namelo’s memo, dated September 21 2018 and addressed to UTM legal counsels, Ritz Attorneys.
The movement filed the documents with the Registrar on September 13 2018 and the 14-day requirement expired on Thursday.